Will Penny Wong ever be Prime Minister of Australia?


penny wong passion and principle margaret simons
Penny Wong: Passion and Principle by Margaret Simons from Black Inc Books

A biography of Penny Wong, due for release on 1 October, asks if Australia is ready for a gay Asian woman as Prime Minister. An extract of Penny Wong: Passion and Principle by Margaret Simons and published by Black Inc Books appears in The Guardian.

In the extract published today, Margaret Simons writes that Penny could only become Prime Minister by moving from the Senate to the House of Representatives.

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However, more importantly, she says Penny Wong does not aspire to the job.

“She judges the nation not ready for a gay Asian woman as prime minister.”

Margaret Simons writes that Senator Wong has both political and personal reasons not to seek the top job.

Politically, she believes some voters would move their vote rather than endorse a gay Asian woman.

Personally, she fears for the impact on herself and her family.

Penny Wong

South Australia elected the openly gay Penny Wong to the federal senate in 2001. She then commenced her first term the following year.

She served as a cabinet minister in both the Rudd and Gillard governments, becoming the first Asian born cabinet minister.

In 2013, Labor elected Senator Wong to the position of Leader of the Government in the Senate, the first woman to hold that role.

Penny Wong came out publicly as a lesbian after assuming her seat in the Senate in 2002.

Her family consists of partner Sophie Allouache, a public servant, and two daughters.

Penny Wong: Passion and Principle

In Penny Wong: Passion and Principle, Margaret Simons judges Senator Wong’s current role as that to which she is best suited.

“Her natural strength is policy and strategy. In other words, she is well suited to the leadership of the party in the Senate.”

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